Tim Emmett and Read Macadam have recently climbed Sonnie Trotter's route The Path, 5.14aR, at Wicked Gravity Wall, Lake Louise, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. Originally a sport route, The Path never saw a successful redpoint ascent and in 2007 Sonnie Trotter chopped the bolts and established it as a trad line. An impressive route with steep 8b+ climbing on trad gear, Tommy Caldwell called The Path 'definitely one of the best single pitch trad routes in the world.' Caldwell made a repeat of the route in 2013, the 6th ascent after Sonnie Trotter, Ethan Pringle, Matt Wilder, Peter Kamitses, and Miles Adamson.
Tim and Read achieved joint success on Read's birthday, Friday, 22nd July. Tim spent 8 and Read 7 days out at Lake Louise over three trips. Read Macadam explained that after two trips working it, followed by a long rainy period, the two returned:
'We put the top rope up on the evening of the19th and brushed the holds up after all the rain. On the 20th,Tim led the charge and got mid-crux again on lead. He ended up tearing open huge flappers on his left hand - that's the screamer video from his Instagram account. I offered to clean the gear for him and managed to climb it clean again on the yo-yo, but I was still waiting for my perfect moment, e.g. delaying. I was still contending with my mental battle to set off from the ground!
'I pulled the birthday trump card for first go. It took some motivational ass-kicking from Tim - thanks, mate! - and a magic helmet borrowed from Normand, but I eventually set off. It seemed like an epic voyage. First through irrational fear and uncertainty and then flowing on the upper moves into pure enjoyment, I got it! It was my second ever lead attempt.'
Tim shared the success on Instagram:
So psyched to climb #ThePath yesterday with @readmacadam. It took 8 visits and 6 attempts on lead placing all the gear each time. What an incredible and exciting adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The climbing is so fun with immaculate rock and the gear is good but spaced. It's given 5.14aR (F8b+) which means if you make a mistake you might take a big fall but you're not going to die ;-) I've wanted to do this route for years ever since I saw @sonnietrotter 's video of the FA in 2007. Sonnie first came onto my radar when he repeated Dave MacLeods #Rhapsody (5.14bR) in #Scotland probably the first E11 in the world. Sonnies trait was to climb hard routes protected by traditional gear rather than bolts. Being British, it's something I have aspired to do aswell so the Path was the perfect climb to try. I'm going to miss the daily commute to the back of the lake, such a special place, sometimes on quiet days you might see a grizzly bear down by the water, and to top it all off Katie and I got married there too, so to have a team ascent with Read on his birthday felt really cool. We had a great time and definitely the highlight of my traditional climbing career 😃🙌 Thanks for the photo @skupinski #liveclimbrepeat @mountainhardwear @blackdiamond @scarpa_uk @adidaseyewearuk #team_elevate #eatcleanclimbharder
As part of the preparation process Tim stopped drinking alcohol. 'I decided to cut it out completely so I could stay motivated to train.'
As it turned out, 'day 85 without alcohol' was to be the day. As the hardest ascent of their careers, the two were justifiably very happy with their joint success, Read sharing the birthday psyche:
I couldn't ask for a better birthday present. Team send of the Path 5.14R. My first trad lead above 12a and matching my sport PB . Quote of the day just before I set off. "All those doubts take away from your ability to send," he said. "Not quite," I said, "all those doubts simply offer opportunity to be proved wrong." Perspectives! Couldn't be more psyched and grateful for this journey. Massive 👊🏼👊🏼 @timemmett. #gohugarock #teamsend #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing #iloooveit #petzlgram #lasportivagram #adventure #explore #travelalberta #teamelevate @trakspro @petzl_official @wildwoodme @lasportivagram @exploreclimbing
The Path had been Tim's idea, but for Read 'The Path became the dream I never knew I had. When I arrived to Canada it was not even on my radar nor was it even in the realm of what I would have considered. When Tim called me up and proposed to go and try the route I just said, "yes!" as one does when this sort of opportunity presents itself. Great people, positive energy, why not?! We have had some great times climbing DWS in Oman back in 2011 so I was certain that at the very least I would have a laugh in a fantastic location.'
Located at the back of the beautiful and peaceful Lake Louise, The Path is not only the hardest ascent yet for either Tim or Read, but clearly marked an important point in their climbing careers, Read writing on Instagram that:
Both Tim and I had similar experiences while on our redpoints of The Path. Resting before the crux, looking out over the lake, we both had the feeling it could be our last time up there and we drank in that view! For me it is a reminder to step back and savor the moments, the process and the beautiful places climbing takes me, because once we succeed...what's next then, mate!?'
Tim also commented on the experience:
This is the 'magical approach' they enjoyed each time they went to try the route:
Throughout the process, the two updated followers on social media. Tim commented, saying 'it was a really cool experience for us and I thought people might get inspired by the journey.' He kept the psyche high with words, pictures and videos via his Instagram account:
A video of their highpoint a couple of days before the successful headpoint:
Later, Read reflected on the whole process:
'The Path was a huge mental jump for me. Before The Path, my trad experience was easy adventure multi-pitch, which were mainly ground up first ascents in Oman where I'm based. The Path is my first naturally protected route over 7a+ and I had actually never taken a trad fall until my first lead attempt on this route.
Headpointing is a strange game! In the end I had to choose whether this route was what I wanted, or not. Once that decision was made, it became a no brainer. I had to try and the fear became irrelevant, simply in the way of just climbing, enjoying the process.'
Related Video: Sonnie Trotter's ascent of The Path: